Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Truest statement of the week

Bernie Sanders’ campaign has finally gone full-throat with the obvious: the Democrat-aligned corporate media have thrown all journalistic principles to the wind to impose a “Bernie Blackout.” 
How can someone who was the most popular politician in the nation  in 2017 be made into a non-person? It’s all intimately entwined with the multiple crises afflicting late stage capitalism.

In the absence of massive, grassroots movements, corporate voices always drown out all the others. Capitalist ownership of the media allows the rich to frame their own worldview as the political “center,” thus relegating contending ideologies to the “extremes” of left or right. In this sense, “centrism” is nothing more than the political position of the corporate owners, who construct media versions of reality that make corporate-concocted policies seem the most logical, commonsensical and socially responsible approach to the world’s problems. As long as the rich can sustain broad public trust in the “truth” of their “journalistic” products -- newspapers, electronic newscasts, books and other media created by professional operatives directly answerable to rich owners – widespread revolt against the corporate order is unlikely. 
Most people in all societies want to be perceived -- and to see themselves -- as sensible, responsible and knowledgeable. When polled on political questions, they are eager to give the “correct” (corporate-endorsed) answers. Only the most marginalized, alienated and systematically demonized sectors of society will consistently buck the corporate narrative. In the United States, the biggest historical resistance to the corporate (rich white man’s) worldview has come from Black America, a besieged people with a unique social perspective who were compelled to create their own media in desperate defense of their collective humanity. However, the demise of Jim Crow apartheid and subsequent absorption of many of the “best and brightest” Black minds into corporate service, has dulled Black defenses. After two generations without a mass, grassroots Black movement – a politically desolate period briefly interrupted by the “Black Lives Matter” mobilizations of 2014-15 -- African Americans are also more likely to give the “correct” answers to corporate media surveys.
But not the youth of all races, who know that capitalism, as they experience it, promises them nothing but endless austerity and war. Majorities of young Americans now embrace a version of “socialism” that is actually merely a less vicious capitalism, made kinder by a comprehensive system of social supports – similar to the “social democratic” order in northwestern Europe. But late stage capitalism is relentlessly eviscerating the European model and has no intention of allowing a replica to be erected in the United Corporate States of America, the global headquarters and armory of the Lords of Capital. 

-- Glen Ford, "By trying to Silence Sanders, the Corporate Media De-Legitimize Themselves" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

Simple translation: Zlochevsky was an ally, officeholder (minister of ecology and natural resources) and inner-circle thief in the ousted government of Viktor Yanukovych. He therefore needed to powder the pig fast and thoroughly in order to hold onto his ill-gotten billions.
So he hired the best Washington influence peddlers that money could buy under the circumstances. First up was Hunter Biden, because his old man was running point on what amounted to the puppet government Washington had installed in Kiev, and Devon Archer, because he was a former bundler for former Senator (and then Secretary of State) John Kerry.
But so as to leave no stone unturned, Zlochevsky also had Burisma hire another Washington influence peddler just one month after Biden the Younger joined the board in April 2014. Again, according to the WSJ, the additional lobbyist firepower came from one,
David Leiter of Washington lobbying firm M.L. Strategies….. Mr. Leiter was John Kerry’s chief of staff when Mr. Kerry was a U.S. senator from Massachusetts….According to disclosure records, Mr. Leiter, who also had worked for the Energy Department, lobbied on behalf of Burisma on “promoting transparency and good corporate governances” at both chambers of Congress, the State Department, the Treasury Department, the Energy Department, and US AID.
Needless to say, only in Imperial Washington would all the above named arms of the US government care a whit about "transparency and good governance" at a two-bit gas producer in Ukraine. During 2018, for example, the company produced the trivial sum of 1.3 BCF of natural gas and booked revenues of just $400 million – a rounding error in just about any energy market that matters.

But as it happened, Washington was calling the shots in Kiev, and Burisma needed its government licenses and gas concessions. So the lobbying happened on the banks of the Potomac where the real power was actually exercised.

-- David Stockman, "The Ukrainian Influence Peddling Rings – A Microcosm of How Imperial Washington Rolls" (ANTIWAR.COM).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Late Wednesday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And here's the new content:


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Protests continue in Iraq -- despite the attacks on protesters

Over 300 protesters have been killed in Iraq since the start of October and approximately 15,000 have been injured.  Who's attacking them?  The government.

US House Reps Eliot Engel and Michael McCaul (Chair and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee) have called out these attacks and noted, "It is critical that the Iraqi government protect the right of the Iraqi people to peacefully protest and assemble. In recent days, we’ve seen an increase in violence perpetrated by Iraqi security forces and paramilitary groups. This is unacceptable. Anyone using force and violent intimidation against protesters and journalists must be stopped and held accountable. We also urge the government of Iraq to reverse the recent internet shutoff and restrictions on social media platforms."

Instead of reversing the stance on shutting off the internet, the Iraqi government again shut it down.

  1. latest update from - Around 300 people killed (mostly protesters) & more than 11,000 wounded since Oct 1. - From Oct 3-7, at least 23 people killed & 1017 people wounded during . - Internet blackout in all Iraq, except region. - Protests ongoing.


Are you paying attention?  You should be.

  1. The Iraqi people making revolution now in Iraq ,the Iraqi Govenment kill people's who protest peacef: Help Iraqi people's - Sign the Petition! via
  2. Iraq protests heat up as pressure mounts via

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) issued the following on Sunday:

Over the past weeks, demonstrations erupted in Baghdad and other governorates in Iraq. Protester demands cover a wide spectrum of issues, including economic growth and employment, reliable public services, prudent and impartial governance, an end to corruption, credible elections as well as broader reform of the political system - including amendments to the constitution.
An accumulation of frustrations about the lack of progress in the last 16 years is clearly perceptible, and with rising numbers of deaths and injured (both protesters and members of the Iraqi Security Forces) a climate of anger and fear has set in. The Iraqi people cannot afford to be held back by the past nor by partisan interests. Rising hope asks for a leap forward, including the understanding that - in today’s digital age - daily life has moved online. Meanwhile, the risk of ‘spoilers’ hijacking peaceful demonstrations is increasing and potentially derailing any attempt at genuine change. Time is therefore of the essence, as are tangible results.
To start with, and following consultations with a wide range of Iraqi parties, actors and authorities (including the three Presidencies, the Supreme Judicial Council, protesters and union representatives), the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) proposes the following principles and measures:
The following principles apply to all parties at all times:
1. Protect the right to life above all.
2. Guarantee the right to peaceful assembly, demonstration and freedom of expression,
as granted in the constitution.
3. Practice maximum restraint in the handling of the protests, including no use of live ammunition, ban the improper use of non-lethal devices (such as tear gas canisters).
4. Deliver full accountability for perpetrators and redress for victims.
5. Act in keeping with the law, including in regard to public and private properties.

Immediate measures (less than a week) include:
1. Release all peaceful demonstrators detained since 1 October, in accordance with the law.
2. No peaceful demonstrators shall be targeted.
3. Initiate full investigation of cases of abduction (including by making available CCTV footage), and reveal the identity of those responsible.
4. Accelerate the identification and prosecution of those responsible for targeting demonstrators.
5. Prosecute and punish those responsible for the excessive use of force and/or other violent acts, in accordance with the law.
6. Publicly call on all regional and international parties not to interfere in Iraq’s internal affairs, respecting its sovereignty.

Short term measures (within one week to two weeks) include:
1. Electoral reform: With the technical support of the UN, a single legal framework shall be finalized. Soon after, the framework shall be submitted to the Council of Representatives (CoR). The parliamentary procedure shall be completed as soon as possible.
2. Security Sector Reform: Executive Order 237 shall be fully implemented without delay. Any weapons outside state control shall be prohibited. Any outlaw armed entity or rogue element shall be considered illegal and it is the state’s responsibility to take them on.
3. Corruption: The political elite shall lead by example, for instance by publicly declaring their assets – at home and abroad, held under their own name or another. Additionally, political parties/blocs and movements shall abolish their economic committees.

Medium term measures (within one to three months) include:
1. Constitution: With the technical support of the UN, the Constitutional Review Committee shall continue its work. Any amendment to the constitution shall be put to referendum by the people of Iraq.
2. Corruption: The Commission of Integrity shall submit corruption cases to the High Judicial Council or the Central Anti-Corruption Court. The Central Anti-Corruption Court shall handle corruption cases at all levels of the state. All corrupt officials will be held accountable and prosecuted.
3. Enactment of laws: The Government shall send the following draft laws to the CoR, and the CoR shall complete its due process as soon as possible:
a. A law addressing the principle: ‘Where did you get this from?’
b. The Federal Court Law
c. The Social Security Law
d. Law on resolving the Housing Crisis
e. The Oil and Gas (Hydrocarbon) Law
f. Amending the Law on Encouraging Investments and Public-Private Sector Partnership
g. The Council of Ministers and Ministries Law
h. The Reconstruction Council Law

TV: So bad, it will make your teeth hurt

Recently, Hostess offered a new treat: Unicorn Cupcakes.  Maybe the title alone should have been a warning?


This fall CBS is serving up one of television's least flavorful treats: THE UNICORN.

The premise?  It's FAMILY AFFAIR only Cissy, Buffy and Jody are adult friends of Brian Keith who are bound and determined to find him bed mates.  You read that right.  This isn't, "Let's fine the perfect woman for him."  You read that right, times have changed, and what now qualifies for 'sweet' and first hour of prime time is a lot different than it was 60 years ago.

Things have changed so much, in fact, that you no longer need to be good looking like Brian Keith, you can be butt ugly -- and even a little squirrely -- like Walton Goggins is.

Previous to being cast as Dream Date, Goggins used to play creeps.  No one ever questioned his casting in those roles.  You'd think that would have been a tip off.  Then again, we are talking CBS where women are pretty and men are . . . just there.

CBS didn't just invent the comedy genre fat-man-skinny-wife, they owned it, over and over and over again.  And they continue to own it on this show where they team the ridiculously attractive Michaela Watkins with the incredibly repulsive Rob Corddry.

The casting seems to be an argument for birth control -- a very strong argument.

What's worse than the looks of the male actors?  The scripts.  Blame that on frequent writers Bill Martin and Mike Schiff.  These two also created GROUNDED FOR LIFE and for the Steve Kroll rip-off TRIAL & ERROR.  You really have to wonder why, after those two shows, CBS would want to get in bed with them?

But honestly, whose life is so barren that they obsess over getting a friend into bed with someone -- with anyone?

It's not just Michaela's Delia and Rob's Forrest working overtime to get Walton's Wade laid, it's also Omar Benson Miller's Ben and Maya Lynne Robinson's Michelle.  That's right, not counting Wade, there are four grown adults working to get Wade laid.

Again, how the times have changed.  At the end of the sixties, THE DORIS DAY SHOW popped up and she was, like Wade, a person with two kids who'd lost their spouse.  But no one was working to get Doris laid -- let alone four adults.

Adults in real life aren't helping the show.  They refer to it as a "hit."  It's no such thing.  It averages around five million an episode.  That's five million less than the show in the same slot last year got.  While YOUNG SHELDON has lost viewers (about two million) since losing THE BIG BANG lead in, it's still delivering eight million or so a week.  LIFE IN PIECES got many more viewers than THE UNICORN and it got cancelled.  MOM, which airs after THE UNICORN, pulls in more viewers.

We've seen this before.

And it's not a hit.

What is it? 


That's what it is.  We're sure we forgot something, but that's what it is.  NBC had a successful Thursday line up.  It was so successful -- with heavy hitters SEINFELD, FRIENDS and WILL & GRACE -- that they could -- and did -- sandwich garbage between their hit shows.

The garbage never got huge ratings or even decent ratings.  But back then, The Water Cooler Set frequently hailed the programs as a hit.  They weren't hits.  And, bit by bit, they led to viewer erosion.

In fact, you can argue that, more than anything else, NBC's MUST SEE THURSDAY created a la carte viewing.  It programmed viewers to watch, for example, FRIENDS at the top of an hour, then take off a half hour only to return for either SEINFELD or WILL & GRACE.

Now CBS, which had been ruling comedy on Thursday nights, has decided to follow NBC's bad example.

THE UNICORN is not a hit.  It's barely a place holder.  Pretending otherwise is what NBC and The Water Cooler Set did for over 15 years.  All that resulted in was viewer erosion.  That really hurt NBC.  Didn't hurt The Water Cooler Set which is why they continue to lie.  Maybe if they ever had consequences for writing nonsense like, "The Unicorn has quickly become a solid hit for CBS, so much so that the freshman series was renewed for Season 2 about five weeks into its run" (Adrienne Jones, CINEMABLEND), they'd stop spinning.

unicorn cupcakes

THE UNICORN is a low rated sitcom that is struggling to deliver viewers.  It leaves a huge crater in CBS' Thursday night line up as viewers flee for a half hour only to return for MOM.  That's not a hit.  If you've tried the Hostess Unicorn Cupcakes, you know they aren't a hit either.  A hard, thin icing on top of a squishy cupcake, the whole thing tasting like a young child's idea of sweet.  But here's how the Hostess product is better than the CBS sitcom: the cupcakes are labeled "Limited-Edition" -- meaning that, unlike the sitcom, they know they will have a short self life.

22 great conspiracy films














13) COMA

14) SALT









Rebecca started the list, Ruth, Marcia, Betty, Mike and we added to it.

Deep State Factoids

Do you know of Stephen Martin Young?

He served in both WWI and WWII.

He also had a long political career.  He ran for many offices.  Among the offices he won election to? The US House of Representatives.  He served his term and sought re-election but he lost that campaign.

The next public office he ran for was Attorney General of Ohio.  He lost.  Two years later, he ran for the US Senate and won.  He ran for re-election in 1964 and won again.

When 1970 rolled around, he did not seek re-election.

He told some that it was getting more difficult.  Specifically, he said, things were more difficult since he began criticizing the CIA.  This criticism included his essay "A Call For Curbs on the CIA" that ran in the May 1967 issue of PLAYBOY.  Two years earlier, on October 20, 1965, THE CHICAGO DAILY quoted the senator stating, that while he was in Vietnam, the CIA told him that they worked to discredit Communism by disguising people as Vietcong, people they sent out to rape and murder the Vietnamese people. One day later, the CIA mop-up rag (THE WASHINGTON POST) ran a story claiming Senator Young had been misquoted (AP reported that he didn't say he was misquoted, he said he got it wrong on who had passed on the information).  (If you're new to that moment in time, you can read William Blum's book KILLING HOPE -- in fact, read it in full for free at the CIA online library where, apparently, US copyright laws don't apply.)

You can go to the JFK LIBRARY online and hear JFK's remarks on Young.  JFK got along with Young, they agreed on many things.  For example, in the Senate, JFK had voted for a new Congressional committee -- a joint House and Senate committee -- to be created to provide additional oversight of the CIA.

Grasp that Young called for more Congressional oversight of the CIA because "wrapped in a cloak of secrecy, the CIA has, in effect, been making foreign policy" (Tom Wicker, John W. Finney, Max Frankel, E.W. Kenworthy and other members of the Times staff, "CIA: Maker of Policy, or Tool?," NEW YORK TIMES, April 26, 1966).  It's an issue that should especially register and resonate today.

In the annals of idiocy . . .

. . . there is Aaron Rupar who writes for VOX.  Let's hope his writing is better than his Tweeting.

This is the same guy who wants you to believe he’s appalled that Joe Biden’s son profited off the presidency. World historical shamelessness.

Does he really not get the difference between Hunter Biden's actions and Donald Trump Tweeting a shout out to his own son's book?

There are many things to call Donald Trump out for (Sr. and Jr.) but a father talking up a published book really isn't one of them.

Again, let's hope Rupar 'reports' better than he Tweets.

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